We stayed in Waikiki for several days prior to our cruise and spent most of our time relaxing on banana lounges under an umbrella on the beach. Our trip out to Pearl Harbour, the Arizona memorial and Battleship Missouri was a highlight but if you can do it independently you will have more time at the museum which we felt was a bit short on our tour. Cruising on a catamaran is also a nice relaxing way to spend an hour.
We booked 'The Road To Hana' with Valley Isle Tours. It is 52 miles, has 617 curves and 56 one lane bridges so you want to have a comfortable ride and this company has very comfortable 12 seater vehicles with wide comfy seats and good headrests as well as huge windows so you can enjoy the scenery. We travelled through the rainforest region and visited a black sand beach with a lava tube, and saw many beautiful waterfalls with lots of stops to take photos. You get the opportunity to swim at the base of one of the waterfalls, but due to recent rain it was deemed unsafe and therefore closed, much to our disappointment. The other side of the mountain was dry and volcanic in comparison, but gave us a great snapshot of the island.
Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour Rating:
Laurence of c-big island took us on a private tour of the Volcanoes National Park. It was a wonderful tour and highly recommended. We visited the steam vents, the Kilauea Caldera where you can view the steam plume shooting up out of the Halama'uma'u crater. We also watched a short film at the visitors centre showing footage of the volcanic eruption of Kilauea Iki, and afterwards we walked through the Thurston Lava tube (Nahuku). We also visited Rainbow Falls and the Macadamia farm where we stocked up on goodies to bring home. A great way to do this tour.
We booked the Captain Zodiac rafting and snorkelling tours. They were a fun loving highly professional company, ensuring everyone felt at ease with the activities on the day and giving extra time and attention to those that required it. We spent an about an hour snorkelling Kealakelu Bay near the Captain Cook memorial. It was such a happy, fun thing to do, made more enjoyable by the staff on the raft. On the way back we saw a pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins and a couple of them took to surfing in our wake. We also spotted Spinner dolphins leaping out of the water, which is an amazing sight. Afterwards we lunched at Quinn's- Almost by the Sea which boasts the best fish and chips on the island (they weren't wrong) and strolling around the shops. I highly recommend doing this excursion.
We organised this private tour with Jay Dorrance of Tread LIghtly and we could not have been happier. Travelling with Jay was like travelling with an old friend, he was so accommodating and went out of his way to ensure we had a special day. He took us to some of his favourite places, including a Hindu Monastery, Opaeka'a Falls, north to the lookout over Hanalei Bay, out to Lumahai beach, then back to swim and relax at his secret little beach at Anini. Afterwards we stopped to view the lighthouse at Kilauea, before stopping at a favourite eatery for a grass fed Kauai beef burger. Finally, we stopped at Gilligans Island for a photo shoot before heading back to the ship. It was an 8 hour day, so worth every cent. I highly recommend it.